Review: Persuasion

Review: PersuasionPersuasion by Jane Austen, Gillian Beer
Published by Penguin Classics Genres: Historical
Pages: 236

“She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.”

FINAL DECISION: Finally, a Jane Austen book that I really liked.  I know that I am a heretic because Austen has never really appealed to me.  This second chance at love book, however, struck me because I really felt for Anne because she made a mistake in her youth and she grew from the experience.  And there is a happy ending!

THE STORY:  Eight years ago, Anne Elliot was to marry Captain Frederick Wentworth before she was dissuaded by her family that he was not an appropriate man for her to marry because of his lack of standing and wealth.  Now Frederick and Anne meet again.  At the age of 27, Anne has never married and deeply regrets her decision years ago.  Now Frederick intends on finding a bride, but it will not be Anne.

OPINION: Up front I will confess that I’m not a Jane Austen fan.  I can appreciate that they are classics, but, for the most part, I find the stories too filled with social conventions and discussions whereas I am more interested in the characters and emotions of the story.  I often find that I like the main story but get bored by all the surrounding events.

For some reason, this book hit me much better.  The story seemed more focused, the heroine more appealing to me.  Perhaps because Anne’s mistakes were years ago and she has had time to reflect and regret and grow, I could understand what had led her to make a mistake and liked her better because of it.

I also liked the Anne and Frederick’s relationship and liked watching them work their way back to one another.

WORTH MENTIONING:  PERSUASION is the last of Austen’s completed novels and was not published until after her death.


STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.


Review: Emma

Emma by Jane Austen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Great Romance Part Doesn’t Compensate for the Too Wordy Book

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich, with a comfortable home and happy dispostion, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

FINAL DECISION: Jane Austen is one of the great writers, but not for me. I love the romance part of the book but it takes too long to get to the connection between the characters.

THE STORY: Emma Woodhouse is young, spoiled and too sure of herself and her matchmaking abilities. She makes some good matches and becomes too confident in herself and proceeds to make some terrible attempts at matchmaking. Emma’s neighbor and friend, Mr. George Knightley cares enough about her to criticize her and warn her of the attempted matchmaking. He tells her the truth, including her faults.

OPINION: The first thing I want to say is that after reading both Pride and Prejudice and Emma, I think these books aren’t for me. That doesn’t mean that I cannot recognize that these books are well written or that they are not classics. For me, the books are too wordy and interested in social conventions for me. There is not enough deep conflict for me to accept these as my deep literature reading and not enough active romance to fall within my romance books. I loved the romance of this book, but there were too many pages of other stuff to get through.

WORTH MENTIONING: I think I am not the right audience for the Jane Austen books. I love the romance of these books, but I am bored silly by the long winded way to get there. I am a big fan of contemporaries of Austen so it’s not the period, there is just nothing about the minute detail to social customs and conventions that appeals to me.

CONNECTED BOOKS: EMMA is a standalone book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

Review: Pride and Prejudice

Review: Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Published by Modern Library on October 10th 2000
Genres: Historical
Pages: 279

Classic of English Literature

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is the classic story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. I won’t summarize the plot because others have done that job better than I could. I generally liked this book but the parts that are the best are the repartee between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Their relationship is the highlight of this book. The other parts of this book really dragged for me. I read this in high school and wasn’t impressed. I liked it better this time but it wasn’t the fantastic read that I had expected.